“You must be awful stupid comin’ around these parts, girl-even with a Vampire at your side.” A loud
A woman came into view, emerging from where she blended in with the forest line. Her skin was as
dark as the bark that covered each tree, but that was where the similarities ended. She swayed her
round hips gracefully as she approached the bike, her full lips curled back in a fearless sneer. She
stopped five feet away, standing on the dual yellow lines that split the road in two. The leather jacket
she wore glittered under the moon, mirroring the light in her dark eyes.
For a single fleeting moment, I wondered if they were oblivious to who we were. The miniscule dash of
hope fizzled out when the woman spoke a second time.
“And don’t expect me to call you Queen, you ain’t no friend of me or mines.”
Though I didn’t dare take my eyes off the Vampire, I could see in my peripherals that she wasn’t the
only one venturing from the forest to stand in the road. In all, I counted four others. Two to our left and
two to the right.
We were surrounded.
The humanoid shape at the far end of the road came closer, their features growing sharper with each
heavy footstep they took. When I managed to make out two pale-blue eyes, a wide mouth, and a set of
messy hair, I found myself stunned into silence.
“Go on, now. Take the helmets off so we can have ourselves a civilized conversation, yeah? You can
shut off the bike too, won’t be needing that anytime soon.”
The homeless man that had been sitting outside of the gas station came to a stop beside the woman.
He brought the can of beer in his hand to his lips and took along drink.
“Oh, thanks for the beer, by the way.” He said, ignoring the woman’s scowl.
Several seconds passed and Tristan hadn’t moved. His position turned defensive, and I could tell by
the way he clenched his jaw that he had no intention on listening to them. I tapped his shoulder
pointedly, once again wishing Vampire’s had the luxury, and curse, of a mind-link.
He must’ve understood well enough because a second later he cut the engine and removed the key
from the ignition. The silence was deafening, but it was the eerie sense of foreboding that thickened the
air and raised the humidity.
“Now that that’s done with, what the h**l kind of business you got in these parts?” The woman
Her eyes narrowed into small slivers, but I could still see the gleam dancing within them.
“Dina, just k**l em’ and be done with it.” The homeless man said.
He flashed me a grin that might’ve seemed apologetic if he hadn’t chosen to belch afterwards. The
sound echoed across the pavement, sending the rancid scent of stale beer and sour breath in every
direction. The woman at his side wrinkled her nose but didn’t tear her eyes away from Tristan and me.
The man shrugged indifferently. “Sorry, doll face. Buying me a beer won’t save ya,’ even if you are the
His words stirred something deep within me, a feeling that unfurled in my chest like the blood-soaked
petals of a freshly plucked rose. I slid off the back end of the bike, feeling the Vampire’s on either side
of us stir. Tristan didn’t dare stop me, but instead followed my lead and lifted his leg over the bike
before knocking the kickstand into place.
I took a few steps towards the man and woman, stopping at Tristan’s side.
“Clearly you need a Queen if you think k*****g me is a smart idea, but what do I know? It’s not like I’m
the Luna of the largest pack in the world. Oh, and laying off the beers might help too.” I replied,
skewering him with my stare for a couple long seconds before turning my attention to Dina, the female
Vampire. “I’m here looking for a Vampire Lair, and it looks like I’ve found it.”
The male opened his mouth to respond but was silenced when Dina raised her hand. On either side of
us, the Vampire’s stirred and shifted restlessly. Clearly, Dina had some sort of sway here, but I couldn’t
be sure how much.
“You ain’t found nothing, and if you’re smart you’ll take your little a*s out of here before I change my
d**n mind.” She snapped.
I wasn’t fazed, even if her voice was laced with fire. Something about her reminded me of a dragon,
huffing smoke into the air as a warning before it b****d the forest to ash. Unlike the drunken Vampire at
her side, intelligence flickered in her eyes.
“You’re smart, I can tell. You don’t want the trouble of kidnapping or murdering me, not without knowing
if my mate and the rest of the pack know where I am-which they do. There’s a reason you didn’t join
the rest of your lair and help the witches when they sought you out, which is a good thing considering
they infiltrated my pack. It’s comforting to know Bridgette wasn’t lying, though she could’ve saved me
some time by warning me about Frank Gallagher over here.” I replied confidently, smirking when the
male’s face reddened and contorted in anger.
“The f**k is that?” He bellowed, crushing the beer can in his hand.
Dina whirled around with such fury in her eyes that I found myself waiting for her to breathe actual
“Either shut your d**n mouth or go the h**l back to Garret’s and keep watch.” She snarled, jabbing a
finger into his chest. When he clamped his lips together and tossed the crumpled can to the side of the
road, Dina turned back to the two of us. “What do you know about Bridgette? Where the f**k is she?”
She had the same fury raging in her eyes. It was powerful enough to make me doubt our safety.
Clearly, she cared about Bridgette. Did she care about her enough to try and harm us?
“Bridgette is alive. Who do you think gave me the directions to your lair?”
Dina pursed her lips. “You torture her for the information? Bridgette wouldn’t give up our location any
I shook my head, “She’s unharmed, but the same can’t be said for the other Vampire’s. I defended
myself when they attacked, but I didn’t k**l them, and neither did anyone in my pack.”
To the left of us, I heard what I thought was a choked sob. When a golden-haired Vampire keeled over,
clasping her hands over her mouth, I knew I’d been right. It brought me no pleasure to see the agony
on her face, to watch the shadows deepen along her protruding cheekbones, furthering the darkness
that already lingered within her eyes. The male at her side, whose dark hair was slicked into a short
mohawk, took her in his arms.
She trembled and shook but didn’t break her stare from my face. “If you aren’t responsible, then who
“The witch they chose to follow.” I answered truthfully, “She’s the one who k****d them.”
Dina cleared her throat, suspicion burning in her eyes. “How the h**l does one measly witch k**l that
many Vampires?” She demanded.
“She wasn’t just any witch…but you should already know that. Wait, didn’t you know she was the blood
witch?” I frowned, running my eyes over each Vampire that surrounded us, soaking in the confusion as
it morphed into various shades of h****r and realization.
Dina’s scowl darkened, turning so grim that I had to fight back the urge to shudder. She turned to the
Vampire that had been posing as a homeless man and said, “Royce, go pull the car out. If what she’s
sayin’ is true and Bridgette survived, Deacon is going to want to talk to her.”